You might be wondering — why do I need a website? It can seem like a bit of a luxury when you are just starting a business. And even some local businesses don’t really see the need. Not only that, but a website can seem like an intimidating and complex thing to build, especially when you have no experience with them.
Luckily there are professionals who can help you out, and make the process a fun and easy one, instead of a painful and scary one. But before you even get to that point, you need to understand why you should really have a website.
Why it is perhaps one of the most fundamental things you need for your business. Everyone is looking for you online — the whole world is on the internet.
Ok, maybe not quite everyone but almost! In 2014 91% of households had broadband internet access (ONS figures).If you have not yet embraced the internet, and created an online presence for your business or brand, then your competitors certainly have. They are reaping the benefits as we speak.
If that is not convincing enough, then consider this. According to a 2013 study from GE Captial’s Retail Bank: 81% of consumers go online before heading out to the store. Which means that most people will research a purchase, a supplier or a company online before they ever get in touch.
Of course referrals are a strong source of new customers, and people might stumble across your services (like Alice falling down the hole to Wonderland) without a website. But let’s face it, you need a website if you want to get found online. And that is where most people are looking for you or your competitors.
So what are you waiting for?
Local businesses have so many reasons to be online. I know. You run a local underwater basket weaving workshop, and you have absolutely no need for a website! Think again.
What if I wanted to call you, but had lost your number?
What if I am interested in underwater basket weaving and am looking for a workshop in my area?
What if I wanted to find out when the next workshop is, or how much it costs?
All of these questions can be answered with a website. Not only will you get more customers, but you will save time on answering those questions too! Your website does not have to be mind-blowing, but a simple website with answers to the basic questions your customers have is a must.
Old School Marketing is dying
You already skip all the advertising on TV using your Sky Box or Tivo. You ignore all the brochures dumped in your letterbox. Old school marketing is slowly dying, and if you have not started the transition to the online world, now is the time.
The foundation of any online advertising or “Content Marketing” is a fantastic website. A place you want your future customers or readers to arrive at and feel welcome. A place you know they will come back to again and again, because it offers exactly what they need.
If you don’t have a website, where will they go?
If you do, is it a place they will find what they are looking for?
A Website has extraordinary reach. Gone are the days where you only have access to customers in your local area. Even if you sell physical products, there is nothing stopping you from shipping them around the country, or even abroad. So having a website can help you reach potentially hundreds of millions of new customers. I personally work with people all over the UK and some across Europe.
And you can to…if you have a website. Your website works while you sleep. If you are always on the phone trying to get new business or help customers with their problems, then it’s definitely time for a website.
A website doesn’t take coffee breaks, or long lunches. Nor do they sleep. So imagine having an ever-present employee, always answering customers questions and luring them to buy your amazing products or services.
All this could be yours (and more), if you had an awesome website, filled with information your customers are looking for. A website is a showcase and information powerhouse. Aside from all the basic things you need to add to your website (contact information, services, products etc) a website can also become a focal point for your customers to find the information they are looking for. Even if you do not want to fill your website with useful information (time is short), you should at least show your customers what you do, and how amazing your products or services are.
Using your website as a showcase or portfolio is also a powerful tool that builds trust. The more information you provide your potential customers online, the more ready they will be to buy when they come to you.
Building a website is easier now than it was 10 years ago. You may fancy doing it yourself. So why would you consider a professional for your website? A website is so much more than some text and nice pictures. Websites need to be properly indexed with all the major search engines and optimised for mobile and tablet devices, proper Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essential so that your site ranks well in searches, otherwise all thetime effort and money expended is in vain. Your website is your business card, your online presence, and your number one way of attracting new customers. So take your website seriously and get it done by a professional, and reap the rewards of being online!
See my article on choosing the best hosting provider HERE. My overall choices for the best hosting providers are –
Best Budget UK Based Shared Hosting Provider
Best Overall Hosting Support & Platform Shared & VPS Hosting
Best Cloud, VPS & Dedicated Server Hosting Provider
*A relatively new type of hosting, ‘Cloud Hosting’ has emerged in recent years. I will write another article on this subject and or amend this article when I have firmed up my thoughts on this development.